New CEO rebuffs homophobia, doubles down on inclusion at Disney shareholder meeting

By : John Paul King of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Above: Disney CEO Bob Chapek (R) with former CEO Robert Iger (L) (Photo courtesy of Disney)

An anti-LGBTQ activist got shut down at Disney’s annual shareholder meeting by none other than the company’s new CEO himself.

Caroline Farrow, who was representing the British conservative advocacy group CitizenGo, came to the March 11 event to pressure the entertainment giant over its promotion of “LGBT ideology” in its films and television programming. It was the first shareholder meeting to be presided over by Bob Chapek, a 27-year Disney veteran who replaced former company CEO Bob Iger at the end of February.

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Buttigieg’s White House bid ensures place in LGBTQ history

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Pete Buttigieg, photo courtesy Buttigieg’s Facebook page.

NEW YORK (AP) | A divisive debate over same-sex marriage animated the 2004 presidential election as voters across the country approved constitutional amendments banning such unions. Sixteen years later, with those bans invalidated and his husband by his side, Pete Buttigieg became the first openly gay man to become, however briefly, a leading presidential candidate.

Buttigieg fell short of his goal to win the Democratic nomination and defeat Donald Trump. But his candidacy will likely be remembered as an example of the remarkable advances made by LGBTQ Americans in their quest for equality and acceptance.

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Congressional hearing spotlights use of religious liberty against LGBTQ people

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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The use of religious liberty — a right afforded fundamental protection in the United States — to assault LGBTQ rights was the focus of a congressional hearing Feb. 27 drawing attention to faith-based adoption agencies denying child placement into LGBTQ homes.

Chairing the three-hour hearing before the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee was Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who in her opening statement assailed the Trump administration’s use of religious liberty as a weapon to attack LGBTQ rights.

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Kentucky governor makes history by attending LGBTQ rights rally

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Gov. Andy Beshear becomes the first sitting Kentucky governor to speak at a statewide Fairness rally at the state capitol. Photo via Gov. Beshear’s Facebook page.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) | Gov. Andy Beshear spoke against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and supported a ban on conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth during a historic appearance at an LGBTQ rights rally Wednesday at Kentucky’s Capitol.

Beshear became Kentucky’s first sitting governor to attend a rally staged by the Fairness Campaign in the Capitol Rotunda, a few steps from the governor’s office. The rallies by LGBTQ rights supporters date back to the 1990s, activists said.

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Boy Scouts of America files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: Photo via the Boy Scouts of America Facebook page.

The Boy Scouts of America announced on Feb. 18 that its national organization filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to enable it to restructure its finances and keep the 110-year-old organization going and “equitably” pay hundreds of claims by former scouts seeking compensation for alleged sexual abused by scout leaders.

The Washington Post reports that the bankruptcy filing comes after several states and D.C. changed their statute-of-limitations laws related to child sexual abuse, clearing the way for “scores of potential lawsuits” against the Boy Scouts of America for alleged sexual abuse that took place years ago.

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Hawaii legislators advance bill to create LGBTQ commission

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Waikiki and Honolulu from a doors off ride with Genesis Aviation Helicopter Tours. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

HONOLULU (AP) | Hawaii state legislators have preliminaryly approved a bill that would create a commission to address issues concerning the LGBTQ community.

A House committee voted 6-1 Feb. 5 to advance the bill that would create the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Plus Commission, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports.

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Klobuchar’s votes for Trump judges include one with anti-LGBTQ record

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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Sen. Amy Klobuchar is facing scrutiny on the campaign trail for voting to confirm many of President Trump’s judicial nominees — and a closer look at that record reveals she backed one pick who once derided as “social policy” not only LGBTQ rights and abortion, but also school integration.

With weeks remaining before the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3, Klobuchar’s vote to confirm David Ryan Stras to the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals could dissuade supporters of LGBTQ rights and other progressives from supporting her in the Democratic presidential primary.

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US ambassador to Zambia ‘horrified’ by gay couple’s 15-year prison sentence

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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ABOVE: U.S. Ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote (Photo public domain)

The U.S. ambassador to Zambia has sharply criticized the sentencing of two men to 15 years in prison under the country’s colonial-era sodomy law.

“I was personally horrified to read yesterday about the sentencing of two men, who had a consensual relationship, which hurt absolutely no one, to 15 years imprisonment for ‘crimes against the order of nature’”, said Daniel Foote in a statement that Rights Africa published on its website on Nov. 29. “Meanwhile, government officials can steal millions of public dollars without prosecution, political cadres can beat innocent citizens for expressing their opinions with no consequences, or poachers/traffickers can kill numerous elephants, barbarically chainsaw and sell their tusks and face a maximum of only five years imprisonment in Zambia.”

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Buttigieg calls latest Trump move enabling anti-LGBTQ bias a ‘huge step backward’

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Pete Buttigieg denounces the Trump rule allowing anti-LGBTQ discrimination. (Photo by Chris Johnson)

DECORAH, Iowa | In the aftermath of the Trump administration unveiling a proposed rule change enabling taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to deny placement in LGBTQ families, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has denounced the move as “a huge step backward.”

The gay 2020 presidential hopeful made the comments on his Iowa campaign bus en route to a rally in Waverly, Iowa, under questioning from the Washington Blade.

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LGBTQ rights, abortion, immigrants top Supreme Court’s new term

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Vin Testa at Obergefell decision day at Supreme Court. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

WASHINGTON (AP) | Protections for LGBTQ people and young immigrants as well as abortion rights top an election-year agenda for the Supreme Court. Its conservative majority will have ample opportunity to flex its muscle, testing Chief Justice John Roberts’ attempts to keep the court clear of Washington partisan politics.

Guns could be part of a term with plenty of high-profile cases and at least the prospect of the court’s involvement in issues revolving around the possible impeachment of President Donald Trump and related disputes between the White House and congressional Democrats.

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Taylor Swift explains why she got vocal for LGBTQ rights

By : Mariah Cooper OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Taylor Swift in her music video for “You Need to Calm Down.” (Screenshot from YouTube)

Taylor Swift revealed that she was inspired to get vocal about LGBTQ activism after having a conversation with her friend, choreographer and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” judge Todrick Hall.

In an interview with Vogue, Swift says Hall made a comment to her that changed her perspective on staying quiet.

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Ally and baseball pro Sean Doolittle wears Pride on his cleats

By : Kevin Majoros OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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When Washington Nationals ace relief pitcher Sean Doolittle travels to away games, he uses his free time to hunt down local, independently owned bookstores. He posts his findings on his Twitter feed to help raise awareness for the oftentimes struggling bookstores.

Small bookstores are one of the many causes locally and nationally that Doolittle has taken under his wing. In mid-May, he sat down with his wife Eireann Dolan and turned his attention to another cause they both advocate for–LGBTQ rights.

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